Sunday, December 11, 2011

Victoria Pool to race at Aqueduct on thursday, 12/15,race 1.

Horse name Victoria Pool
Activity type Entry
Activity date 12-15-2011
Track Aqueduct
Surface Inner track
Distance 6 Furlongs
Race number 1
Purse $21,000
Claim price $15,000
Individual claim price $15,000
Race type Claiming
Post position 3
Jockey Cohen D
Race entry

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tin and Lint and "american pie" question in nytimes.

American Pie’ Still Homemade, but With a New Twist
Published: November 29, 2011

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CloseDiggRedditTumblrPermalink SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — To step into the Tin & Lint bar here is to be surrounded by stories. Carved into the wooden walls, booths and benches are 30 years of names, dates and declared loves: Mike was here; Don loves Joanna 4EVER; Amy and Jennifer, 1989.

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Associated Press
Don McLean, seen in 1972, said contrary to the legend, he did not write “American Pie” in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

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Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
A plaque at the Tin & Lint bar in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., claims Mr. McLean wrote the lyrics to “American Pie” there in 1970.
But the biggest story, nearly as much a part of this upstate city’s lore as its racetrack and mineral waters, is revealed on a small, worn plaque above the third booth from the door: “American Pie written by Don McLean, Summer 1970.”

With its low tin ceilings and stained-glass lamps, the bar seems like the type of place where Mr. McLean would have written his generational anthem of rock’s lost innocence.

Or, maybe not.

Mr. McLean put the legend to rest last weekend in an article in The Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y. He also debunked a parallel tale that claimed he first performed the song at Caffè Lena around the corner from the Tin & Lint.

Mr. McLean, 66, speaking from his home in Maine, laughed when asked about the story.

“ ‘American Pie’ is a little bit like the Mayflower,” he said on Monday. “Everybody’s on it.”

In the 1960s, Mr. McLean regularly performed at Caffè Lena, which nurtured the early careers of folk artists like Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie.

This much is true.

The rest of the story holds that one evening in 1970, after a late performance at the cafe, Mr. McLean retired to the Tin & Lint and set to work writing “American Pie.” In some versions, it was in a notebook; in others, on bar napkins. All end with Mr. McLean’s leaving the notes behind.

Jim Stanley, the Tin & Lint’s current owner, was the bar’s doorman in 1970. Mr. Stanley, 63, said he believed that another employee, a Skidmore College student known as Sloth, grabbed the notes and followed Mr. McLean to the street to return them.

“I agree — he didn’t write it all here,” Mr. Stanley said. “But I do believe he started it here and maybe finished it someplace else.”

Mr. McLean has heard the Saratoga story for years, and while he has tried to correct it — he said he wrote the song in Cold Spring, N.Y., and in Philadelphia — people hang on to their version.

On Monday night, patrons at the Tin & Lint insisted that the beginnings lay at the booth across the room. Mr. McLean said the stories did not bother him.

“People have claimed that song in many places, including New Rochelle, my hometown, but I’m really sure I remember where I wrote it,” he said. “I have vivid memories because I was working so hard on it.”

Sarah Craig, executive director of Caffè Lena since 1995, said, “The ‘American Pie’ story was taken as fact” at the cafe for many years.

“It was one of three things we told people to give them a sense of the place,” she said. “It’s the longest-running folk club in the country. True. It was Bob Dylan’s first gig outside of Greenwich Village. True. ‘American Pie’ debuted on this stage.”

She laughed and said, “O.K., not true.”

Five years ago, the cafe took that story off its Web site after learning that Mr. McLean had disputed the song’s Saratoga Springs debut. He said this week that the song made its debut at Temple University, while he was opening for Laura Nyro.

But the facts should not diminish the importance of Caffè Lena, Mr. McLean said, which, he added, was “like Greenwich Village up the Hudson.”

“Maybe that story isn’t the truth,” he said, “but I would’ve been a lot worse off without that place to go to. It was a stopping place for me at that time in my life.”

At the Tin & Lint, the plaque will remain. The song, No. 83 on the jukebox, will continue to play. And the Saratoga Springs story of “American Pie” might stick around, too.

The city historian, Mary Ann Fitzgerald, likened it to Saratoga Springs’s best-known bit of unproven yet long-believed lore: that potato chips were invented in the city.

“I think people will hold onto what they believe, documentation or not,” Ms. Fitzgerald said. “Although I don’t know if anyone can truly argue with Don McLean himself.”

A version of this article appeared in print on November 30, 2011, on page A33 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘American Pie’: Still Homemade, but With a New Twist.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saratoga's beloved "shirley's" to get a French twist.

Shirley’s Restaurant gets sold out of the family: Saratoga staple on West Avenue to feature new entrees
Published: Saturday, November 19, 2011

0diggsdigg ShareThis3By SUZANNA LOURIE

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Shirley’s Restaurant on West Avenue was recently sold. (ERICA MILLER,

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After renting the 74 West Ave. building for their seasonal hot dog stand, Doggie in the Window, Pete and Shirley Bishop purchased the property on the corner of Washington Street in 1961 where they then opened Shirley’s Restaurant.

Shirley’s son, Leland Bishop, took ownership in 1968, keeping the restaurant and its famous homemade pies in the family for 50 years until recently when Bishop sold the restaurant — effective Nov. 15 — for approximately $295,000 to the space’s new owner, Jean Pierre Lareau.

“My father was going to retire and my mother’s health isn’t in the greatest shape so when he got the offer, he decided to take it and retire now rather than wait around for a better offer,” said Jess Bishop, Leland’s son and current restaurant manager.

Jess Bishop and one of his three sisters continue to work at Shirley’s, keeping a strong presence of third-generation Bishops at the restaurant, which locals have come to know and love for its family-owned traditions, menus and friendly service.

Restaurant regulars won’t have to fear any of those traditions disappearing under Lareau’s ownership. The Montreal native is committed to maintaining the business the way it was, but with a few new twists.

“I started looking for a business to buy and I went to 30 or 40 businesses, but I fell in love with little Shirely’s because it was family-oriented and has a great reputation,” Lareau said Friday. “I made my due diligence — I talked to a lot of people and it has a great reputation, it’s a part of the history of Saratoga and I bought it from a great family.”

Lareau, a former president of Montreal’s now-closed harness track, Blue Bonnets Raceway, had been visiting Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Race Course each summer for more than 30 years. About a year ago, he decided to plant his roots in the community he had grown to love throughout the years.

The horse-racing enthusiast also has extensive experience as a restaurateur, owning a five-star restaurant in Montreal and having managed multiple concessions at Blue Bonnets Raceway.

“We’re keeping the same family-oriented business at Shirley’s — the same chef, the same type of food and the same dirt on the floors. We’ll bring a little newness, but we are keeping what makes Shirley’s great,” Lareau said. “I see a lot of potential for the future in bringing some special foods from Montreal, like poutine.” Poutine is a French-Canadian dish of french fries, gravy and cheese curds.

Although Leland Bishop could not be reached for comment, he had just been by Shirley’s for lunch and is still involved in the restaurant his parents built and with his loyal regulars and longtime employees. Jess Bishop also confirmed Lareau’s commitment to tradition and said no changes have been made thus far. Continued...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the continued neglect of our parks and heritage is a real tragedy.

Ignore our parks, neglect our heritage
paul braY
Published 08:55 p.m., Saturday, November 12, 2011
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A great thing about America is its parks, their diversity and their endurance. Communities proudly have parks, as do states and the nation. Those parks preserve natural and cultural assets for future generations, offer places for recreation and provide civic identity.

New York's state parks and historic preservation system began with acquisition of Gen. George Washington's Revolutionary War headquarters in 1850 and the preservation of natural and historic treasures like Niagara Falls.

Later came the Robert Moses era, which was intended to assure outdoor recreational opportunities within reasonable distance for all New Yorkers. Urban and regional state heritage areas broaden that mission explicitly to include sustainable economic development.

New York courts have protected parks with the public trust doctrine that requires legislative approval before discontinuing or compromising a municipal or state park.

Sadly, for the first time the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is walking away from responsibility for heritage areas.

These parks, created in our time, were put in jeopardy by former parks Commissioner Carol Ash during the Paterson administration. In 2008, her deputy wrote to heritage area directors declaring that the "agency's approved Financial Management Plan for this year includes the end of agency staff support and technical assistance for the Heritage Area program."

Current Commissioner Rose Harvey has shown no will to change course.

With strong support from state legislators, local officials and many other public and private leaders, most state heritage areas have managed to survive in hard times made harder by the parks agency. Some have done better than survive like the Susquehanna Heritage Area. It recently expanded from two cities and village to include more than 35 towns and villages in Broome and Tioga counties.

In the early 1980s when the state heritage area law was enacted and in the early 1990s there were recessions and cuts in state and federal funds. But state participation in the heritage area partnership continued. In the face of 1981 cuts, then-Commissioner Orin Lehman stated that the heritage area concept "will remain valid and achievable". He did not walk away, as Carol Ash did.

At a 1991 National Park Service conference on "Partnerships in Parks & Preservation" in Albany, heritage areas were referred to as "partnership parks." New York has 18 state heritage areas and 49 national heritage areas.

At that conference, then-Gov. Mario Cuomo said "government -- be it state, federal or local -- cannot by itself assure that our most precious historic and natural resources will survive."

He added, "we now recognize that an entire area or region, like our Hudson River Valley, the Adirondacks or what we now know as the Hudson-Mohawk Urban Cultural Park (known as the Riverspark heritage area) can constitute in its totality a resource of pre-eminent importance."

By law, the state parks agency was to be the leader of a heritage area system with local governments and private organizations playing significant roles in organizing and managing their heritage areas. State agencies were to assist heritage areas as they pursued their integrated goals of conservation, recreation, education and sustainable development pursuant to management plans approved by the state parks commissioner. Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and the Riverspark (including Troy, Cohoes and five neighboring communities) are state heritage areas.

Throughout New York history, the ball has not been dropped as it was by the state parks agency in withholding support and jeopardizing the continuance of something as important as the state heritage program. It should not get away with this dereliction of duty and tradition.

Paul M. Bray was the founding president of the Albany Roundtable. His email is

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

victoria pool in fall.

sorry we've taken a little post pool closing break but we're baaacck! lots of saratoga news: Brindisi is closed, adelphi hotel for sale for $4.5 mill

Saratoga Springs' Red Villa sold for $1.98 million
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Red Villa, the 795 N. Broadway mansion once owned by the flamboyant socialite Molly Wilmot, has been sold for $1,982,500, a local Realtor said Monday.

The nine-bedroom house, sometimes called Redstone, is a combination of Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles. It was built in 1883, according to city records.

The 7,000-square-foot building has eight bedrooms and eight baths.

“You couldn’t build it for three times that amount today,” said Realtor Tom Roohan, owner of Roohan Realty in Saratoga Springs. “It’s just a classic house.”

The house was sold by Mildred Ruth Moorman to Redstone Saratoga LLC this summer.

Molly Wilmot, who died in 2002, owned the house during the 1990s. She sold it to Stonebridge Farm LLC in 2000 for $900,000, according to information on file in the city assessor’s office.

Mildred Ruth Moorman acquired it from Stonebridge in 2006. No price is listed for that transaction.

“It was completely renovated and updated,” Roohan said.

Wilmot, who also owned a large stately home at 659 N. Broadway in the 1980s, did some extensive renovations of her own to the Red Villa before she moved in.

Wilmot spent her summers in Saratoga Springs for decades. She also owned an oceanfront house in Palm Beach, Fla., and a large apartment in Manhattan. She was a friend of socialite Marylou Whitney and other wealthy enthusiasts of thoroughbred horse racing and horse ownership.

She gained even more celebrity the day after Thanksgiving in 1984, when a rusty Venezuelan freighter was washed up onto her sea wall in Palm Beach during a storm.

The nearly 200-foot-long ship, the Mercedes, got stuck there. The photo and story about the grounded freighter and the wealthy socialite who welcomed the crew into her lavish home and gave them coffee and sandwiches made news around the world. Wilmot’s Palm Beach home was next door to the estate of Rose Kennedy, mother of former President John F. Kennedy.

Roohan said the person or persons who bought the Red Villa saw an opportunity. Interest rates are low, he said, and “It’s a good time to invest [in a house].”

James K. Kettlewell, a retired Skidmore College professor and author of “Saratoga Springs, An Architectural History,” said Redstone is a “remarkable variant of Queen Anne style.” He said the red brick material and terra-cotta porch columns contain elements of both Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival.

Kettlewell praises the “terra-cotta treatment of the porch and the wonderful way the front chimney cuts straight through the central gable, where it is flanked by windows.”

The house had been on the market for a little less than a year.

Roohan said he did not know the party or parties associated with Redstone Saratoga LLC.

Two other large mansions on North Broadway have been sold over the past 15 months, Roohan said. These include 655 N. Broadway, purchased in late 2010 for $2.1 million, and 743 N. Broadway, purchased in the summer

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Saratoga Springs City Hall in need of more repairs to keep its lustre. Built in 1871 it is still the heart of Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Springs City Hall, now 110 years old and still the home of city government, needs a lot of tender care and regular maintenance.

The roof of the historic building has a leak or two, the police headquarters in the basement needs renovations, and City Court officials would like a little more room on the second floor.

These problems are predictable in a building that opened in 1871 and was expanded with an annex on its east end in 1889, said Assistant City Engineer Deborah LaBreche.

“There are leaks in the music hall,” LaBreche said. “Behind the stage there is a bucket that has to be emptied.”

At a glance
• Saratoga Springs City Hall was opened in 1871 and an annex was added to its east end in 1889.

• The tower and 5,276-pound bell were removed for safety reasons in 1934.

The music hall is on City Hall’s third floor. The city rents out the space that can accommodate at least 300 people for dance festivals, weddings and stage productions. The City Council also uses it for important public meetings.

The roof leak above the music hall will be a thing of the past once the city awards a contract for the replacement of part of the roof in the coming month or so. Part of the roof is copper and a portion is a rubber material that hasn’t been replaced in nearly 25 years.

“These problems aren’t a surprise,” LaBreche said. She said the old rubber roof will be replaced before the end of the year.

LaBreche has been a city employee for 10 years. She coordinates maintenance and renovations projects at City Hall and the city-owned Canfield Casino in Congress Park for the Department of Public Works.

She loves the history behind the old buildings.

“It’s such a privilege working with this building and the Casino,” she said.

Projects done

One of her favorite projects was the replacement in 2008 of old, crumbling steps in front of City Hall at Broadway and Lake Avenue, and the return of two original, refurbished cast-iron lions to the places they stood in 1910. In 2009 the entrance was upgraded with a beautiful mahogany doorway donated by Zanetti Millworks in Middle Grove.

The door project was a major priority of Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco when he took office.

“The building is old,” Scirocco said. Things are constantly in need of repair and replacement. His department does much of the work. “The exterior is in good shape,” Scirocco said. Glass in the windows has been replaced with more energy-efficient triple-pane glass.

old tower

When the building was opened it had a lofty bell tower with a 6-foot diameter clock perched atop.

“The plainness in composition was made up for by a rich array of Italian Style Victorian ornament in brick and stone and by an elaborate cornice,” writes Skidmore College professor emeritus James K. Kettlewell in his book, “Saratoga Springs: An Architectural History” (1991, Lyrical Ballad Book Store).

The tower and 5,276-pound bell inside it were removed in 1934 for safety reasons. When the huge bell cast by Menelly Bell Co. of Troy was rung, it would shake the whole building.

Scirocco would like to see the tower replaced some day with a lighter tower of the same design and an electronic bell and clock.

The tower project, at present at least, is still a dream. It is not included in the city’s 2012 to 2016 capital projects budget.

Five years ago, there was a $17 million proposal to build a public safety and court building behind City Hall. The building proposal, which was never approved by the City Council, would have been located where the parking lot off High Rock Avenue now lies.

City officials say they are now satisfied with the space they have in the original building. Public Safety Commissioner Richard Wirth said in these difficult economic times it’s unrealistic to consider such an expensive new facility.

Instead, Wirth has included $46,490 in the recently approved 2012 capital budget that would start renovations of the police headquarters in the basement.

Another $90,000 would be included in the 2013 capital spending plan for improvements to the entrance to the headquarters on Lake Avenue as well improvements to offices and other spaces. Scirocco said the city DPW could perform many of these improvements with its own staff.

upkeep worth it

Mayor Scott Johnson, like assistant city engineer LaBreche, loves the old building. He said the city’s capital budget includes $200,000 every year for care and maintenance of city-owned buildings, including City Hall.

“It’s a very pivotal part of our architectural landscape on Broadway,” Johnson said. “We need to do everything we can to preserve its integrity for future generations. Older buildings need care.”

The courtroom on the building’s second floor is a beautiful example of restored and maintained woodwork. It’s also historic in its own right: On Aug. 21, 1878, some 75 attorneys from 20 states and the District of Columbia founded the American Bar Association right where City Court is held each day.

City Judge Jeffrey Wait said he was against the proposal to build a public safety and court building when it was discussed five or six years ago. But Wait said the court could use more space on the second floor; there is not enough room for the court clerks, storage, or meeting rooms for attorneys and clients.

The state Office of Court Administration rents the courtroom space as well as the state Supreme Court Law Library for the 4th Judicial District on City Hall’s third floor. The library, lined with legal texts of all kinds, is staffed by the Office of Court Administration personnel and used by attorneys. It is open to the public.

Wait said if the Public Safety department, across the hall from the courtroom, could be moved to another space or another building, then the court could expand into this space and even have a second, smaller courtroom.

But until that happens, City Court makes do with its current space. Wait advocated for and finally received a holding cell near the courtroom for prisoners awaiting a hearing or arraignment. The space is located adjacent to Wait’s office behind the courtroom.

When the building opened in 1871 it was called the Saratoga Springs Town Hall and that name remains on the front of the building. Saratoga Springs didn’t become a city until 1915. Four years after the Town Hall opened, the music hall was the scene of the founding of the American Bankers Association on July 20, 1875.

LaBreche said old buildings, such as City Hall and the Canfield Casino, “have a soul.”

But sometimes City Hall can have a cold heart. She said one of the issues is that the steam boiler heating system has only three zones. The steam heat is piped to radiators throughout the building.

“The police are sitting on top of the boiler; it’s right under the police department,” she said, describing winter conditions in City Hall. “Public Safety can be very, very hot, when in the mayor’s office [on the first floor] you can see your breath.” The city has a long-term contract with Johnson Controls of Syracuse for energy management work. She and Scirocco said Johnson Controls has helped the city deal with some of the heating issues.

Back in 2007, then-Finance Commissioner Matthew McCabe proposed selling City Hall to the private sector and using the money to build a new public safety and court facility. This never became a reality.

LaBreche said she’s happy the building was never sold. “I think City Hall should be the heartbeat of the town,” she said. “It has always been here. We make do with our staff and resources here.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

good night irene!!

Hurricane irene caused victoria pool to be closed along with all nys parks on sunday,august 28,2011. Let us hope all the parks emerge with minimal damage.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New York City Ballet attendance UP in 2011! Time to bring back week three.

Ballet numbers up at SPAC
Orchestra attendance falls
Monday, August 22, 2011
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The just-completed classical season at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center is being called a success even though attendance was down for performances of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

On the plus side, the New York City Ballet posted nearly a 7 percent increase in attendance this summer compared to the 2010 season and an 8 percent increase in revenue.

Marcia White, SPAC’s president and executive director, said Monday that attendance at Philadelphia Orchestra performances dropped almost 12 percent from last year, which featured a substantial 21 percent increase over 2009.

“They moved their season dates up a week,” White said about the orchestra’s 2011 season. This earlier start coincided with the first full week of thoroughbred horse racing at the Saratoga Race Course, resulting in competition for the entertainment dollar.

The Philadelphia Orchestra started its three-week SPAC tenure during the last week of July rather than the usual first week of August. Several very rainy nights during the orchestra’s residency also brought the orchestra’s numbers down, especially among those patrons who enjoy sitting on the lawn outside the SPAC amphitheater.

Last year, perfect summer weather blessed the orchestra’s entire stay at SPAC, driving up attendance, White said. The Philadelphia Orchestra still posted a 5 percent increase in attendance this summer over the summer of 2009.

“The second two weeks were strong,” she said.

“Audiences embraced the eight renowned guest conductors who each brought their own unique style and mastery to the podium,” White said in a statement. “Virtuosos including Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Emanuel Ax, and Branford Marsalis dazzled us with their gifts.”

The New York City Ballet had a total attendance of 36,784 over two weeks this July as compared with 34,509 in 2010.

Total ballet income was $936,304 this year compared to $863,065 in 2010, an increase of 8.5 percent, according to classical season numbers released by SPAC on Monday.

“Guests embraced fresh new programs like ‘See the Music’ and pre-talks by principal dancers which fostered a greater connection between audience and artist,” White said.

The Philadelphia Orchestra total attendance was 35,765 this year as compared with 40,464 in 2010.

Income from the orchestra was $902,315 this summer as compared to $986,184 in 2010, a decrease of 8.5 percent.

The biggest classical season audience of this 2011 — more than 5,000 people — attended the season finale of the Philadelphia Orchestra on Aug. 13.

White said economic problems — first the debt ceiling debate and then steep stock market drops — dominated the news this summer.

In reaction to this, she said families are embracing the value of seeing world-class entertainment at very reasonable prices close to home.

She said the “GE Kids in Free” program grew by 8 percent and the student discount program has grown by 11 percent between 2010 and 2011.

Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, said having such excellent classical entertainment in Saratoga “means a ton” for the community.

“We are attracting world-class talent to SPAC,” he said. “These are things you can’t see anywhere else in upstate New York.

“The arts play an integral part of what makes Saratoga Springs so special,” Shimkus said.

He said it’s very important for the greater Saratoga community to do whatever it can to sustain and encourage the orchestra and ballet.

White said she expects both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York City Ballet to return to SPAC in 2012. She said discussions are being conducted with both parties about next season but nothing has yet been finalized

Friday, August 19, 2011

BIGGER IS BETTER! saratoga springs 9/11 sculpture very suitable for :art in public places, nytimes, 8/19/11.

The Bigger the Better for art in public spaces! SO what is Saratoga's problem with a wonderful 9/11 sculpture ready to go and be placed at the visitor's center?---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------9-11 sculpture will not be in place by 9-11; backers cry 'politics'
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The 9-11 monument won't have a permanent home by 9-11.

Saratoga Arts has been working since the Spring of 2010 to make sure the sculpture, "Tempered by Memory," would be complete, and in place by September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

The sculpture is made from steel beams pulled from the downed towers. It stands 25-feet tall, and now just 25 days before September 11, the city can't decide where to put it.

"It's an election year and things will get stalled. That's what we're facing," says Joel Reed, executive director of Saratoga Arts, the group behind the sculpture.

It was supposed to go outside the newly renovated City Center, but the piece ended up bigger than first planned and the people who run the center decided it was too big. The City Council then suggested the front lawn of the Visitor Center, across Broadway from Congress Park. But the visitor center's advisory board is saying "not in my front yard."

So, now, as the clock ticks toward September 11th, it's a sculpture without a home. Saratoga Arts is crying foul saying the City Council reneged on its plan because it's an election year and leaders are afraid to take a stand.

"I wonder if this were last year, or next year, if this would've gone a little differently," says Reed.

The Republican mayor and the Democratic accounts commissioner dismiss the criticism as "ridiculous."

"It's unfortunate that this is being alleged on this issue. There's no politics involved here," says Mayor Scott Johnson.

"I would just tell Joel I don't own the property in Saratoga Springs. The taxpayers and residents do and they deserve input of where it should go," says John Franck, accounts commissioner.

Saratoga Arts will scramble to unveil the sculpture as part of a temporary display on September 11. A situation Reed says is less than ideal, "It's not meant to be just parked on a corner some place. Having it as a traveling road show, I don't think it does service to the art or the artist."

It is the outdoor art season in New York and therefore a good time to ask what makes for a successful piece of urban public art. When art ventures away from the nurturing shelter of the white-walled gallery, it must contend with all kinds of distractions: huge buildings; noisy vehicular and pedestrian traffic; spectacular, sexy commercial signs with dizzying video imagery; unpredictable weather; the verdant beauty of a park; and the sheer interestingness and variety of so much else that in the artificial and natural fabric of the city.

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Outdoor Art Season

The latest on the arts, coverage of live events, critical reviews, multimedia extravaganzas and much more. Join the discussion.

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One way for public art to distinguish itself is to be really big. This year’s prize for size should go to Jaume Plensa’s “Echo,” a gigantic, ghostly, white head of a girl in Madison Square Park. Towering 44 feet, it is made of molded fiberglass resin parts fitted together so the seams show. It looks as if it had been carved from a huge, laminated block of marble, and the girl’s features are rendered smoothly as if they had been eroded by the elements over the years. The head is also oddly distorted — flattened in such a way that it resembles a digitally manipulated three-dimensional photograph or a hologram. Viewed from a distance at night, when it is bathed in the bright light of lamps around its base, it seems to glow, a silently plaintive specter conjured, maybe, by the guilty conscience of a rapacious modernity.

Less spectacular but effectively haunting in its own way — partly because of its grand scale — is one of a number of works commissioned by the High Line: a greatly enlarged black-and-white photograph by Robert Adams mounted on a billboard next to that elevated park. Made in 1978 in rural Nebraska, the photograph shows a narrow, much weathered country road running between fields of tall grass and extending from the foreground to the top of a low, faraway hill. Dried, fallen leaves from small trees have gathered at the side of the road. A melancholy mood is enhanced by blocks of funereal black filling in the oblong expanse of the billboard on either side of the picture. Like Mr. Plensa’s sculpture the photograph evokes something neglected, a soulful road not taken. But there is too an eerie feeling of hopefulness, of a possibility not yet foreclosed. (The billboard will regularly present landscapes by eminent photographers selected by the photographer Joel Sternfeld.)

Mr. Adams’s photograph works not only because of its drive-in-movie scale but also because it is so different from the kind of visual material that normally attracts and assaults the public eye. A few yards farther up the High Line, strollers come upon another billboard: not an artwork but a huge advertisement for Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club. With its blaring purple and gold hues and the come-hither expression of the sultry woman it pictures, it must be an embarrassing thorn in the side of the High Line’s administrators, who clearly favor low-key subtlety over high-impact flash. Another expansive piece on the High Line, for example, is a long wall of windows by Spencer Finch called “The River That Flows Both Ways.” Each of hundreds of panes is the color of a pixel from a photograph of the surface of the Hudson River. Jade, wine, teal and other muted hues produce a lovely, quiet symphony of color.

An elephantine sculpture in front of the Seagram Building on Park Avenue at 53rd Street has much going for it: impressive scale, contrast with the normal environment and popularly appealing imagery. Urs Fischer’s “Untitled (Lamp/Bear)” is a 23-foot-tall representation of a lumpy yellow stuffed bear wedged into the space between the base and the shade of an old desk light. Weighing in at almost 17 tons, it is made of painted cast bronze and has table-top size button eyes sewn on with rope. The light glows at night. (Christie’s, the auction house that recently sold the sculpture, organized its outdoor presentation.)

For contemporary art followers the obvious comparisons are Jeff Koons sculptures like the giant shiny “Balloon Dog” and the flower-covered “Puppy.” But the Fischer displays little of the fanatical attention to surface and detail seen in Mr. Koons’s work. It also relates to the tradition of the Duchampian found object and the absurdist Pop Art monuments of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Leaving aside its presumptive pedigree, however, it is not very different technically and aesthetically from the kitschy, Pop-realist sculptures of J. Seward Johnson, whose enormous representation of Marilyn Monroe in her upward-billowing dress has caused much debate in Chicago since its recent installation there downtown.

If Mr. Fischer’s sculpture is meant as an ideological Trojan horse, the marauders inside do not seem to be stirring. Nevertheless it is undeniably sweet, and there is something sad about it too. It shares with the works of Mr. Plensa and Mr. Adams a mood of regret for something left behind. It is also notable that Mr. Fischer’s first name is so close to the Latin word for bear; maybe the sculpture is a portrait of the inner child he neglected while pursuing his high-flying career. His Rosebud.

Sol LeWitt, one of the fathers of Conceptualism, made lots of excellent public art during his lifetime (1928-2007), most memorably in the form of colorful, graphically punchy murals gracing the walls of museums and other buildings around the world. His sculptures, on the other hand, do not fare so well outdoors. All but one of the 27 works in “Sol LeWitt: Structures, 1965-2006” in City Hall Park is white or off-white and severely geometric. Too many revolve around variations on open-framed cubes of painted metal. Pyramids made of concrete blocks that would be imposing in a gallery are dwarfed by buildings surrounding the park and look too much like temporary piles of construction material. It is hard to imagine many casual park visitors being captivated by the conceptual systems that gave rise to such rarefied abstractions. (The exhibition was organized by Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund.)

The one sculpture that works here is “Splotch 15,” which is perfectly located just inside the park’s front gate. Painted in Playskool colors, it has slender, smooth peaks rising to different heights from an amoeboid footprint. It might be a three-dimensional graph of some worldly phenomenon, but whatever the mathematics underlying its forms, it has an infectious buoyancy and a hint of sci-fi futurism. A whole outdoor show of Splotches would be something to see.

Returning to the High Line you will find other works of doubtful outdoor effectiveness. For “Digital Empathy,” Julianne Swartz has hidden audio equipment in elevators, bathrooms and drinking fountains that plays digital voices intoning ostensibly informative, affirming and reassuring messages. But if you listen closely, the voices sound like those of aggressive, mind-controlling radio announcers in a dystopian movie based on a story Philip K. Dick. With “Space Available” Kim Beck has positioned what look like old-fashioned billboard scaffolds on the roofs of nearby buildings, which, with some difficulty, can be picked out against the skyline. I could spot only one, high atop the tallest building just south of the High Line’s southern entrance. It looks like a three-dimensional construction, but in reality it is a silhouette cut from flat panels. Such low-visibility, high-concept artworks as these are unlikely to make big impressions on the average High Line visitor.

In short supply this year is a type of public art that engages with the world in some practically beneficial way. An exception is a sculpture in the form of an ultramodern avian habitat by Sarah Sze. Divided in half by the High Line boardwalk, the work consists of faux-wood-covered birdhouses with parallelogram sides built into grids of shiny metal rods that converge to single points like perspective sightlines. There are geometrically shaped stainless-steel cups for seeds and water too. Much to my disappointment there was not a bird in sight. It is like a utopian housing project now awaiting demolition because its accommodations are too sterile for the unenlightened masses. Perhaps the structures are too close to the boardwalk and the passing throng. Or maybe these sharp-edged, coldly artificial houses just are not what birds like. Nevertheless, it is a nice idea. How about a luxury high-rise for squirrels?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ah, beautiful oklahoma.

As the Sun Rises, Two Legends Murmur

Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times
Horses who race at Saratoga Race Course work out on the shady Oklahoma training track.

Published: August 10, 2011
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CloseLinkedinDiggMySpacePermalink SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — The horses look like shadows at dawn as they cross Union Avenue, stopping traffic to shuttle between the Saratoga Race Course on the west side of the street and a timeless oasis on its east side: the Oklahoma training track. Think of it as a Club Med for horsemen who prefer spending their working vacation with their own kind amid an oasis that evokes a bygone year.

Postcards From Saratoga Springs
The Value Man

A weeklong series of vignettes depicting the characters, sights and sounds of Saratoga Race Track.
It was here that Saratoga’s first meeting was held in 1863, a four-day racing festival where horseplayers bet with bookies and watched from their carriages. The Oklahoma is tree-lined and perpetually shady, as are the original board-and-batten barns — elegantly splintered — that form clusters of villages around its perimeter. It is quiet, too, save for the geese honking from its infield and the head-clearing snorts of racehorses circling the track.

Sunshine finally shines on the United Nations of horsemen represented here. Jockey Eddie Castro carries on an animated conversation in Spanish with two exercise riders as three clip-clop their horses along a wooded trail leading to the racetrack’s gap for workouts. There, Christophe Clement, a Frenchman, offers instructions to a brigade of riders in his native language. Irish brogues and Queen’s English echo in the stillness.

The Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was on horseback Wednesday morning, sitting tall in the saddle, his black leather vest and chaps flapping as the wind blew a cool breath on an already-pleasant 68-degree morning. He was leading a set of horses out for morning gallops but was in no hurry to put them through their paces. Lukas was off to a slow start here, managing a single victory in 30 starts.

He stopped at the sight of a fellow Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert, who was leaning against the rail at the clubhouse. Baffert was watching his colt Prayer for Relief gallop on the deep track.

“None of them in my barn can run anyway,” Lukas said.

Make no mistake — these two are cowboys. Lukas, 75, is from Wisconsin, where as a boy he bought horses en route to the slaughterhouse, cleaned them up, trained them and sold them for a profit. The white-haired Baffert began as a jockey, a bad one by his own admission, in his native New Mexico.

“That’s my big horse, the West Virginia Derby winner,” Baffert said, tongue firmly in cheek.

Between them, Lukas, 75, and Baffert, 58, have won 22 legs of the Triple Crown — the much-coveted classics — including seven victories in the Kentucky Derby.

“He’s got a nice neck,” Lukas offered. “I like the way he moves, Bob. He’s moving really well.”

The two watched Prayer for Relief stride out in silence. Neither of them moved.

Suddenly, a herd of horses and their riders poured onto the track in a rainbow of saddlecloths bearing the initials of their trainers. There was the NPZ logo of the Hall of Famer Nick Zito, the TAP of Todd Pletcher and the CC of Clement, all bouncing by.

Lukas and Baffert remained still.

“I’ve been stabled here for 32 summers,” Lukas said. “There’s no place like it, especially on mornings like these.”

“We’re going to bury you there in the infield when you die, Wayne,” Baffert said, smiling.

“No, put me right here on the track,” Lukas countered. “Just harrow me under.”

Then, he turned his pony back to the track and his work.

“I’d be happy,” he called back over his shoulder, “harrowed right under here.”

A version of this article appeared in print on August 11, 2011, on page B15 of the New York edition with the headline: As the Sun Rises, Two Legends Murmur.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

New York City Ballet numbers UP at spac for 2011, yippee!!

Ballet numbers upJuly 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm by Dennis Yusko
Total attendance at the New York City Ballet shows rose 6.2 percent above last year at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, SPAC officials announced Thursday.

Some 36,800 patrons attended the two-week summer season from July 5 – 16, up from 34,509 in 2010 and 34,895 in 2009, when the season was shortened to two weeks from three, according to SPAC.

The ballet attracted 45,034 people in 2007 and 42,354 in 2008, according to SPAC.

Ticket sales for 2011 were projected to reach $936,000, an increase of eight percent, SPAC officials said. They credited the gains to “a season of stellar programming, a highly successful “Gatsby” Ballet Gala and glowing reviews.”

“We are pleased and grateful that dance audiences turned out so strongly for New York City Ballet’s SPAC Season,” said Marcia White, SPAC president and executive director. ”The Ballet presented spectacular programming including Peter Martins’ wonderful production of The Magic Flute, landmark Balanchine works and a fabulous jazz-themed Gala program.” Great weather, popular pre-shows and devoted audiences also played huge roles, she said.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s season extends from July 27 to August 13.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Double news FLASH! Victoria Pool will be open until 8PM on Fri.,7/22 and Sat., 7/23 due to heat wave! Yeah!!

Lions are roaring again. Our beloved Lions Heads were turned back on today and have water coming out of their mouths with the most beautiful sound again.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SPAC is out to get rid of New York City Ballet again???

Once again the powers-that-be at SPAC are beating the drum to threaten the demise of the greatest ballet company in the world having its summer home in Saratoga as it has for the past glorious 45 years. Instead of charging reasonable prices they do the opposite and ensure the seats will not be full. Then they say people don't want the ballet anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. Have a few nights at $25 a seat and see what happens. There are many creative approaches that can be enlisted to save the New York City Ballet besides free Meat and Beer that SPAC could try if they cared at all. Saratoga has plenty of rich people that could give to the ballet if it was marketed properly. The ushers act like "Nazi nurses" towards the public and turn people off from wanting to come to SPAC more than ever. SPAC was built for the New York City Ballet in 1966 which the current Board does not seem to care about the Arts at all. For those of us who worked tirelessly the first time to save the New York City Ballet we are ready to fight again for the good of the arts and soul of SPAC.
The article below appeared in today's Saratogian.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Economic uncertainty, decline of fine arts could threaten New York City Ballet's future with SPAC
Published: Sunday, July 10, 2011



More Photos
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New York City Ballet dancers perform in “Thou Swell” Saturday evening at SPAC. (ERICA MILLER/

Fred Wilhelm pours a glass of champagne for his wife, Winnie, on the lawn of Saratoga Performing Arts Center before the Saturday evening performances of “Thou Swell,” “Plainspoken” and “For the Love of Duke.” (ERICA MILLER/


Click to enlarge

Ballet-goers gather on the lawn at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on opening night of New York City Ballet’s two-week 2011 residency. With the economy hurting sponsors and attendance figures and ticket sales suffering, it remains to be seen whether SPAC will be able to continue hosting the ballet’s classical programs. (ERIC JENKS/

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On a warm July night in 1966, the New York City Ballet lit up the amphitheatre at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center with its version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the company’s first performance in Saratoga Springs.

Forty-five years later, the ballet continues its annual summer residency at SPAC despite a tough economic climate and the decline of the fine arts in today’s tech-oriented culture.

After SPAC’s 2008 season, the New York City Ballet board met with SPAC administrators and reached a joint decision to cut the ballet season from three weeks to two weeks every summer.

“The cost of production goes up every year and attendance was going down,” SPAC President Marcia White said. “Life is different now. With the emergence of technology, people are busier and have more choices at their fingertips; there’s not as much time for the arts.”

After testing out the two-week season in 2009, attendance numbers seemed to confirm that shortening the season was the right decision. The shorter season featured seven fewer shows than the previous year’s three-week season did, but the average attendance for each show rose by 24 percent and average ticket income increased by 19 percent.

But with the shorter season, fewer spectators had time to make it to the ballet, as the 2009 total attendance was down nearly 20 percent from the previous year.

The 2010 season pulled nearly flat attendance levels, down just 1 percent from the previous year, and total income fell by 8 percent.

Despite changing times and a trying economy, White made it clear that Saratoga Performing Arts Center values the New York City Ballet’s residency.

Bringing the ballet back for another year is “something we reconsider every year,” White said. “But SPAC is committed to doing everything and anything to keep the ballet.”

Despite SPAC’s dedication, bringing the ballet to Saratoga Springs is not cheap. White reported that the overall cost for SPAC to host the ballet’s two-week residency is $1.8 million — that’s down from the $2.2 million cost of a three-week season. Continued...

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Victoria Pool Fundraiser 6/19/11

Mayor Scott Johnson of Saratoga Springs and Andrew Jennings, co-founder, save the victoria pool society at first fundraiser by the society.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Victoria Pool opening early
Published: Thursday, June 16, 2011

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Victoria Pool will open Saturday, a week earlier than previously scheduled. The pool, located in Saratoga Spa State Park, will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Friends of the Victorial Pool Society will hold a fundraiser at the pool from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

After this weekend, the pool will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning June 25.

Admission to the pool is $8 for adults and $5 for children.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

5 days to go till Victoria Pool fundraiser, come one come all.

Umbrellas for Victoria Pool
June 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm by Dennis Yusko
The Save the Victoria Pool Society is holding its first fundraising activity to assist the state with improvements at “America’s most historic and beautiful pool” in Saratoga Spa State Park.

The group is hosting a gathering of food, friends and possibly music at the Victoria Pool lobby from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday to help the state with its purchase of 20 large pool umbrellas for the stately pool, which officially opens June 25.

Umbrellas at the Great Depression-era watering hole are popular among sunbathers, who use them for shade. They are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. But the ones that remain have fallen into disrepair, pool users say.

“The unbrellas at the pool are falling apart or non-existent,” said Louise Goldstein, a founding memory of the society. The state has ordered green umbrellas that are historically accurate for the pool that cost about $200 each, she said.

The suggested donation for Sunday’s fundraiser is $25. Checks should be made to NHT (Natural Heritage Trust) for Saratoga Spa State Park, care of Louise Goldstein, 64 North St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Posted in At the park, Events, History, Parks, Weekend events | -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Victoria Pool group in search of shade
The Save the Victoria Pool Society is hosting a fundraiser on Sunday that organizers hope will allow them to work with the state and buy a collection of umbrellas to use on the pool deck.

Louise Goldstein, the group’s co-founder, said the hope is that the fundraiser will raise enough money to purchase at least 20 umbrellas. The umbrellas, which cost around $200 a piece, will be purchased through the state using donations from Sunday’s fundraiser, she said.

Visitors to the pool can bring their own umbrellas, of course, but Goldstein said buying a set would give the pool a uniform look that is in keeping with its 76-year-old history.

“There’s a historic look to the pool and if everybody brings their own it starts to look like any other pool,” she said.

Additional proceeds could go towards the purchase of water pumps that recycle water and would allow two water-sprouting lion’s heads inside the pool to be turned back on.

Sunday’s fundraiser will run from noon to 3 p.m. at the pool lobby and include food and beverages. Free entertainment is still being sought. The suggested donation is $25.

The event marks the first time the advocacy group has held a fundraiser to support the pool since forming in 2003 when it was at risk of closing. Group members have previously focused on getting the facility open by Memorial Day — which remains a goal — and pressuring parks officials to make improvements using taxpayer money.

“We always thought it was our money anyways, because we all pay taxes, but times are tough,” Goldstein said.

Parks officials plan to open the Victoria Pool by June 25.

– Drew Kerr

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Victoria Pool Fundraiser almost here, Sunday, Father's Day, June 19,2011, Noon-3PM.

The key to keeping it cool: Spa State Park officials ready Victoria Pool
Published: Thursday, June 09, 2011

0diggsdigg ShareThis0By LUCIAN McCARTY

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Spa State Park regional plumber Allan Eddy cleans the bottom of Victoria pool after it was filled recently. The pool is set to open June 25. (ERICA MILLER,
SARATOGA SPRINGS — With the dog days of summer coming early this year (before summer, in fact), many people in the city are looking for ways to cool off. Soon, they can employ the same method many Saratogians have for the last century.

The Victoria Pool is full of water already and Spa State Park officials are working through the process of opening it for the season, something that is not as easy as it appears.

The pool takes a week to fill, followed by chemical tests and retests to make sure the pH of the pool is good for swimming and there is no bacteria brewing in the water. This year, park officials decided the pool needed to be painted as well.

“That was another added step,” park manager Michael Greenslade said. And of course, the weather plays a big factor in when all of that process can take place.

“It would have been great to have the pool open for the last day or two,” he said. “But three or four days ago, it was only about 50 degrees.”

He said the opening of the park has been an issue this year because of the weather, with mowing and everything else required in the spring at Spa State Park .

Wednesday night, Greenslade met with Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson and Save Victoria Pool Society Board Chair Louise Goldstein to discuss some of the collaborative potential for the three.

“This was the first time a city mayor ever met with the park manager regarding the Victoria Pool,” Johnson said. “That surprised me.”

“It was a historic meeting,” said Goldstein, mentioning the three have never sat down around a table together. “It was a great dialogue and I hope it can continue.”

Goldstein said she and her group are constantly trying to get the pool open earlier. “For decades, it opened Memorial Day and that’s what we are pushing for.” Continued...

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At this point, Green-slade said the scheduled date for opening is

June 25, but he hopes to have the facility open earlier. And while he said the meeting was a first for the three of them, he stressed, “We already have a good working relationship with the city,” and he sees Goldstein once or twice a week during the summer and periodically at other times. “She loves the park.”

“They are putting a good foot forward by pursuing what is a treasure of the park,” Johnson said.

The Save Victoria Pool Society is also holding a fundraiser June 19 at the pool to raise money for umbrellas to line it. “They are falling apart,” Goldstein said. She said the umbrellas are $200 apiece because they have to adhere to historic specifications that are consistent with the historic pool.

The event will have food and refreshments and Save Victoria Pool Society is asking for a suggested contribution of $25 for the cause. Goldstein said the group is also seeking musical entertainment for the show.

For more information, call Goldstein at 683-8476 or email

Those who would like to contribute can make checks payable to NHT for Saratoga State Park and mail it to 64 North St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

local blog notes Victoria Pool fundraiser coming up, sunday, june 19,2011, noon to 3.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Suck it dad...I'm saving the Vic on fathers day

There are a few things in this world we absolutely love and that we'd give our lives for. One being eating stew dogs with an ice cold Coke in the Stewarts parking lot, cute baby photos and spending our days at The Victoria Pool at The Saratoga State Park. Unfortunately the Vic could be taken away from us due to bad state budgeting. we need more fire fighters and cops. Thankfully a bunch of people have banned together to save the pool. They call themselves the Save The Victoria Pool Society and those lovable snooties snoots are throwing a big ol' fundraiser on Sunday June 19th in the lobby of the Vic to help raise enough cash to keep the place nice and clean and the bar full of liquors. $25 is the suggested donation but they'll take whatever you can afford. If for some reason you can't make it but still want to help out, you can send them a check to:
Save The Victoria Pool Society
64 North St
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Make your check payable to NHT for Saratoga Spa State Park

If you gotz questions you can call Louise at 518.683.8476
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Labels: Saratoga, Saratoga Springs, Save the Victoria Pool

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Victoria Pool Fundraiser at Victoria Pool on Sunday, june 19,2011, noon to 3pm. Come spend father's day with us and contribute to your favorite pool.

Anything you can give will be greatly appreciated with a $25 suggested contribution. Send checks to:
Save the Victoria Pool Society
64 north st.
saratoga Springs, ny 12866

MAKE check payable to:
NHT for Saratoga Spa State Park

any questions call Louise: 518-683-8476

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We salute our Vets with our favorite poem from WWI.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Inspiration for the poem — In Flanders Fields
During the Second Battle of Ypres a Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2 May, 1915 by an exploding shell. He was a friend of the Canadian military doctor Major John McCrae.

John was asked to conduct the burial service owing to the chaplain being called away on duty elsewhere. It is believed that later that evening John began the draft for his famous

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vale of Springs restored at Saratoga Spa State Park spearheaded by Heather Mabee and her mom, Marylou Whitney.

Vale of Springs renovation complete
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The renovated, enhanced Vale of Springs area of the Saratoga Spa State Park was officially opened Tuesday in celebration of the park’s 100th anniversary.

State parks Commissioner Rose Harvey, along with members of the Saratoga-Capital Region Parks Commission, helped cut the ribbon in the park’s Geyser Spring area. Heather Mabee, commission chair, and her mother, socialite Marylou Whitney, also helped to open the area, which was first developed in the 1930s.

Mabee and Whitney were also among those donating money to the $250,000 Centennial Campaign that paid for much of the work.

“This is a perfect model of a public-private partnership,” said Harvey, who was appointed earlier this year as commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

“This community identified a need within the park and worked tirelessly with friends and supporters toward its completion,” Harvey said in a prepared statement.

Alane Ball Chinian, director of the state parks’ Saratoga-Capital Region, said the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park donated many volunteer hours to the project, and local businesses donated money, products and labor. For example, Bonacio Construction of Saratoga Springs rebuilt the Orenda Spring pavilion, Sunnyside Gardens of Saratoga Springs donated flowers and plantings and Moy Enterprises donated a portion of the masonry work it did for the project.

The Hayes Spring pavilion was renovated by volunteers from the Friends of Saratoga Spa State Park, Chinian said. The project includes a new mineral springs trail and a loop that takes a visitor to the park’s springs, and features educational signage.

State parks staff, including engineers and workers, also participated in the rehabilitation work.

Chinian said the plazas and pavilions in the Geyser Spring area were built in the 1930s and had become deteriorated. The state has also funded the updating and renovation of pavilion and restroom complexes in the park’s picnic area.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Umbrella fundraiser for Victoria Pool, Father's Day, Sunday, June 19th, noon-3pm.

Saratoga Spa State Park
Victoria Pool Umbrella Fund-Raiser

Sunday, Father’s Day, June 19, 2011, Noon-3 P.M.

Location: Victoria Pool Lobby at Saratoga Spa State Park.
For more information, call: Louise at 518-683-8476 or email:
Suggested contribution: $25
Checks payable to: Natural Heritage Trust for Saratoga Spa State Park.